Tutankhamun


Tutankhamun
King 1361-1352 BC.
    Tutankhamun succeeded *Smenkhkare as ruler of Egypt when he was still a child of eight or nine years. It is probable that he was the son of *Amenophis III, whom he calls 'father' on one of the granite lions which originally stood in the Temple of *Amenophis III at Soleb and is now in the British Museum. Another interpretation of this evidence suggests that the word is to be translated as 'ancestor', and that *Akhenaten, rather than *Amenophis III, could be Tutankhamun's father. His mother may have been one of the queens of *Amenophis III—*Tiye or Sitamun—or another unknown woman in the king's harem. Medical examination of the mummy of Tutankhamun and of the body found in Tomb 55 (believed to be that of *Smenkhkare) has indicated that these two men were probably full brothers; both had the unusual although not abnormal platycephalic skull that is also present in an exaggerated form in the art representations of *Akhenaten.
    Tutankhamun married the third daughter of *Akhenaten and *Nefertiti and originally the names of the royal couple were Tutankhaten and *Ankhesenpaaten, but these were later changed to Tutankhamun and Ankhesenamun when there was a return to orthodox religion. As a child ruler, Tutankhamun was probably advised at first by *Nefertiti and then by the courtier, *Ay; *Horemheb also rose to eminence in this reign as the King's Deputy.
    Tutankhamun may have lived for some time at the Northern Palace at Amarna, under *Nefertiti's tutelage, or he and *Ankhesenpaaten may have moved there after *Nefertiti's death. It is unclear when Tutankhamun's Court left Amarna and returned to Thebes, and the extent to which the Aten was replaced by the traditional gods during his reign. In the Amarna archive there are letters addressed to Tutankhamun by foreign rulers and these may have been sent to him while he still resided there.
    His Restoration Stela was issued from Memphis, which presumably became his new capital, although the stela was set up in the Temple of Karnak at Thebes. The inscription gives details of the chaos that prevailed in the land and of the steps that the young king took to restore the old order: the gods, particularly Amun, were reinstated, and since no priests could be found (presumably because *Akhenaten had eliminated them), a new priesthood was drawn from well-known persons in all the major towns. The cult of the Aten still retained some importance, for the sun's disc and rays—the Aten's symbol—was represented on the king's coronation throne as the royal patron deity.
    Few other details of Tutankhamun's short reign have survived, although in the Temple of Luxor, a great hall was decorated with wall-reliefs that show his great festival of Amun. The king's programme of restoration was obviously curtailed by his untimely death before he reached twenty; examination of the mummy has not revealed conclusive evidence of the cause of death.
    Tutankhamun was buried in an improvised tomb in the Valley of the Kings and the entrance to this was later covered over by debris from the tomb of Ramesses VI. Although it was robbed in antiquity, Howard Carter, excavating on behalf of Lord Carnarvon, discovered the tomb in 1922 and found most of the contents intact. The spectacular treasure, crammed into the four small rooms of the tomb, included the funerary goods and the three golden coffins and gold mask that covered the mummy. All these items are now in the Cairo Museum, with the exception of the mummy and one of the gold covered wooden coffins which remain in the tomb. All the other royal burials in the Valley of the Kings had been plundered extensively, so this tomb provided a unique opportunity to study the funerary art and ritual of the New Kingdom.
    Two female foetuses were also discovered in the tomb. These were presumably the offspring of the royal couple. Because Tutankhamun apparently had no heir, his throne was inherited by *Ay, a senior courtier, who is shown in the tomb scenes performing the burial rites for the young king.
    Since the names of *Akhenaten and *Smenkhkare were not obliterated during the reigns of Tutankhamun or *Ay, but at a later date, it would appear that the destruction of the Aten cult was undertaken by their successors.
BIBL. Carter, H. The Tomb of Tutankhamun. (three vols) London: 1923-33; Varille, A. Toutankhamon, est-il fils d'Amenophis III et de Satamon? Ann. Serv. 40 (1941) pp. 651-7; Aldred, C. Akhenaten, King of Egypt. London: 1988; Piankoff, A. The shrines ofTut-ankh-Amon. New York: 1962; Connolly, R.C. Harrison, R.G. and Ahmed, S. Serological evidence for the parentage of Tutankhamun and Smenkhkare. JEA 62 (1976) note on p. 184; Harrison, R.G. Connolly, R.C. and Abdalla, A. The kinship of Smenkhkare and Tutankhamun demonstrated serologically. Nature 224 (1969) pp. 325-6; Leek, F.F. The human remains from the Tomb of Tutankhamun. Oxford: 1972. Reeves, N. The Complete Tutenkhamun. London: 1990.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
(reigned c. 1336–1327 BC)
   Throne name Nebkheperre, formerly Tutankhaten. Son of a king, probably Akhenaten. Still a child, he succeeded Akhenaten after the ephemeral rule of Smenkhkare, presumably under the tutelage of Ay and Horemheb. His reign is marked by the return to orthodoxy and the worship of Amunand the move of the capital back to Thebesfrom Amarna. He married his probable half sister, Ankhesenpaaten, who later changed her name to Ankhesenamun, but he had no surviving children. He was the last ruler of the family of Dynasty 18 and was succeeded by Ay, who buried him in tomb KV62 in the Valley of the Kings. His memory was suppressed under Dynasty 19. The discovery of his intact tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 has ensured his fame, although as he died young, he took no independent actions during his reign.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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